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Is Climate Change Just a Lot of Hot Air?

Henry Reich, MinuteEarth

This short video illustrates how warming ocean temperature is a major factor in climate change, particularly the increase in severity of extreme weather (notably storms and drought).

Video length: 1:40

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2b
Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7c

Energy Literacy

Water plays a major role in the storage and transfer of energy in the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.4 Water stores and transfers energy.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Stop the video at the 1:40 mark to avoid the ads at the end.
  • Video's narration moves very quickly through concepts such heat capacity of the ocean, capacity of the atmosphere to absorb water vapor as temperature increases, and NASA visualizations of changes in ocean surface temperatures over time. Educator may want to show video several times and/or pause frequently to clarify and/or check for understanding.
  • Consider using this resource after some instruction in heat capacity vs temperature and the role large bodies of water have on weather systems and climate.

About the Science

  • Video gives a very clear and concise explanation of how just a few degrees rise in ocean temperature can lead to increased moisture in the atmosphere and heightened severity of extreme weather events.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    Fantastic resource! Had to watch twice to fully grasp all the points but it's so quick and fun to watch that I didn't even mind it.
    - 1% extra energy absorbed from global temperature increase is in the atmosphere, the rest is in the ocean
    - Describes how heat storage in the ocean impacts the weather (a point often missed when describing climate change)
    - Explains that warmer water evaporates more and produces more water vapor (GHG)
    - High sea surface temperatures drive storms and floods (more heat --> more energy for storms)

About the Pedagogy

  • The cartoon format is engaging and easy to follow for students.
  • Video is a fast-moving animated overview of the important contribution of rising ocean temperature to global climate change.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Technical quality excellent, even in full-screen mode.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

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